A new, intensely short documentary about the cultural rot underway at Yale (but not only at Yale) is worth viewing, if you have a firm grip on your skull. Yale, is, of course, the source of many U.S. leaders and opinion-makers, including Supreme Court justices and recent Presidents. As one can see from the video, it is either indoctrinating the young minds in its charge in oppressive, anti-speech and liberty ideology, or, to give a large benefit of the doubt, failing to disabuse students of toxic and anti-democratic ideas that the educational system has also seeded.
Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, Yale is an elite institution, a role model for others, and supposed to represent the best of higher education. Its students will take their place among the intellectual and economic elite. Nobody who has been paying attention to the logical and legal contortions being used by the supporters of “the resistance” should be surprised that our most promising students are being trained to reason like this. The question is: does it make sense for a nation to actively support an educational system that appears to have become dedicated to undermining the basic values its founding was based upon?
The former-Provost of Stanford University, John Etchemendy, recently gave a speech he called “The Threat From Within” in which he said in part.
Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. . . . We need to encourage real diversity of thought in the professoriate, and that will be even harder to achieve. It is hard for anyone to acknowledge high-quality work when that work is at odds, perhaps opposed, to one’s own deeply held beliefs. But we all need worthy opponents to challenge us in our search for truth. It is absolutely essential to the quality of our enterprise.
The problem bites when a particular ideological sect gains power, and meticulously and systematically sets out to make diversity of thought inaccessible. Professors and scholars inhospitable to progressive cant are becoming extinct on college campuses, by design, just as they are an endangered species in newsrooms and Hollywood. Over at the increasingly had-left legal website “Above the Law”—you know, the one that kept erasing my e-mail alert requests every time Ethics Alarms criticized the site; the one that employs Ellie Mystal, a black lawyer who has advocated that black jurors refuse to convict black defendants—writer Joe Patrice mocked the concept of advocacy for “viewpoint diversity” as argued in this letter from a group of law professors:
February 24, 2017
To the Executive Committee, Association of American Law Schools,
There is growing awareness that conservative and libertarian scholars are grossly underrepresented in American colleges and universities and that this imbalance results from political discrimination. For several years now a number of legal scholars have asked the AALS to support the commitment to viewpoint diversity stated in its by-laws. Some officers have taken our concerns seriously. Immediate Past President Kellye Testy was most cordial to us, as were her immediate predecessors, Dan Rodriguez and Blake Morant. I have spoken briefly to the new President, Paul Marcus, and I hope that he will do likewise.
Judith Areen, the Executive Director of the AALS, seems also to take us seriously. She has alerted program organizers to the need for viewpoint diversity. This may explain why a few of us were invited to participate in AALS programs this year. Several people tell me that panels at this year’s Annual Meeting seemed to be better balanced than in the past. In 2016 I was invited to serve on the AALS Program Committee. Other members of that committee seemed receptive to greater ideological diversity in the Association’s special programs.
Unfortunately, these developments seem to constitute the sum total of progress for viewpoint diversity.
The Executive Committee met with Randy Barnett, Brian Fitzpatrick, Jim Lindgren, Amy Wax, and me during the 2016 Annual Meeting. At this meeting we urged, inter alia, the creation of a Political Diversity Task Force on viewpoint diversity similar to the Racial Diversity Task Force created in 1999 or the three task forces created to deal with issues of globalization. We also asked that viewpoint diversity be made a regular element of the sabbatical reviews for member schools, and that scholars be afforded access to the Faculty Appointments Register (“FAR”) for research, subject to strong protections for confidentiality of information about registrants.
In February, 2016 a letter was sent on behalf of the EC stating that no access would be granted to the FAR or even to the data obtained by Professors Albert Yoon and Tracey George when they were granted access to the FAR in 2007. The letter said that the EC had formed a subcommittee to study access to the FAR. A year later, we have not heard that any action has been taken.
In February, 2016 we also received a letter from President Testy saying that she had appointed a subcommittee of the EC to begin assessing practices and processes to see if changes were needed to meet the goals of the AALS. However, so far as we know, no task force was created and no steps were taken to make viewpoint diversity a regular part of sabbatical reviews. Indeed, so far as we know, the EC took no further action whatsoever in response to our concerns.
We fear that the Executive Committee does not take our concerns seriously and intends to take no action to address them. We urge the EC to alter this attitude. Both scholarship and teaching suffer when law schools are echo chambers in which only one side of current debates is given a voice. Should the EC decide to tackle the issues we raise, we will be pleased to cooperate with you in any way we can.
- George W. Dent, Jr.
- Jonathan H. Adler
- Randy E. Barnett
- Josh Blackman
- Gerard Bradley
- Robert Cooter
- Richard Duncan
- Scott FitzGibbon
- Brian T. Fitzpatrick
- Elizabeth Price Foley
- Gail Heriot
- James Lindgren
- John McGinnis
- Gregory S. McNeal
- Nadia Medzel
- Seth Oranburg
- James Phillips
- Cassandra B. Robertson
- Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz
- Ilya Somin
- Lee Strang
- Eugene Volokh
- Kevin Walsh
- Lynn Wardle
- Steven Ware
- Amy L. Wax
- Steven Willis
- Todd J. Zywicki
Patrice’s argument is perfect, almost a satire of the kind of thinking displayed by the students in the video. He calls the plea for intellectual diversity “kinda racist” because it misappropriates the term “diversity” for non racial purposes. His rant provides a good test of how stupid bias has made someone: if you think this Orwellian position is a valid argument, you have been absorbed:
[B]eing a conservative is not to be the victim of systemic and unwarranted discrimination….To put it more bluntly: you’re literally getting judged on content, and not the color of your skin, or your sex, or gender identification, or religion, or national origin. Sorry, the Dr. King test has spoken.
But you’ve nonetheless appropriated the rubric of diversity and clumsily appended it to your, frankly, whiny snowflake complaints about law schools not appreciating your work. See how that is prima facie demeaning to victims of racial, sexual, or any other form of discrimination based on some immutable characteristic? Because as it is, this looks like you woke up one day and said “hey, that Latina benefitted from this ‘diversity’ thing, so we should get some of that too?”
See, Joe, the mission of colleges and universities is education in critical thinking and the tools to engage in it, not ethnic, racial and gender quotas. When academics and scholars are “judged” by those hostile to their ideas according to pre-programmed lock-step ideologies, that is just as much a biased-poisoned judgment as a racist admissions system rejecting a qualified black student because of his race (or rejecting a qualified Asian student so a less qualified black student can take her place,) But a racially-biased admission decision only affects its victim. Ideologically biased selection of faculty and courses adversely affects all the students, the culture, society and the nation.
Patrice’s logic boils down to “I don’t like conservatives, so I agree that and their ideas they should be excluded from higher education: they are being excluded on merit, bases on content, content I and those in power in places like Yale don’t approve of, for good reason: their ideas are wrong. We know.” Does it occur to him that we don’t have a true marketplaces of ideas when the market is restricted to the ideas the a small and powerful group of sellers want its customers to buy? Of course not, since Joe,. being a True Believer. would never dream of buying the excluded “products.” To Joe, and Yale, and hundreds of other school, allowing conservative ideas and concepts into the “market” is like letting venders sell spoiled meat.
As the video above shows, spoiled meat of a different sort is what student are being force fed at Yale.